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Bare Root Fruit Trees

What are bare root trees?

Bare root trees are harvested from their growing beds in the late fall, and the soil is removed from their roots. They are kept in cold storage over the winter, and planted before they break dormancy in the spring.

What are the advantages of planting bare root trees?

Improved Tree Health

Bare root trees are not grown in a container. This eliminates the industry-wide problems of circling and girdling roots that develop in container-grown stock, a major threat to even healthy-looking plants. Also, since bare root trees are planted early in the spring before they leaf out, the trees get a head start on developing strong root systems in the native soil before they start producing leaves, flowers, and fruit.

Light Weight & Reduced Environmental Impact

Bare root trees are much lighter when shipped. This saves on freight and fuel and makes them easier to maneuver while planting.

More Cost Effective

Shipping bare root trees is much less expensive, and that savings is passed directly to the customer. Our trees will be comparable in size to a #5 container tree, but for half the price! (All trees will be a minimum of 5/8th inch caliper.)

We are excited to offer bare root fruit trees at Rick’s this spring! We are working hard to bring you the best fruit trees possible.

Excellent Quality

The bare root fruit trees we are selling will be of superior quality! We chose to source these trees specifically from growers who supply professional orchardists. Van Well Nursery is based in Washington state and works with several orchards in the Palisade, Colorado area. They have an excellent reputation among professional growers, and we’re excited to offer that level of quality in Colorado Springs! We have consulted with Van Well to bring you the best in bare root fruit trees for our local climate.

Exceptional Rootstock

Since their seed is not true to type, fruit trees are produced from cuttings. Many species of apples, pears, and plums do not root easily from cuttings, so they are grafted onto rootstock grown specifically for this purpose, a practice dating back over 2,000 years.

When purchasing any fruit tree, it is important to inquire about the quality of the rootstock. For our bare root trees, all apples are grafted onto EMLA 7 rootstock. This rootstock is semi-dwarfing, meaning each variety will grow about 50-60% smaller than typical, which is perfect for backyard orchards. This rootstock was chosen for its cold hardiness and extreme resistance to fireblight. The plums are grafted onto a peach seedling rootstock.

Interesting Varieties

This year, Rick’s will have eight kinds of apples and two kinds of plums to choose from. We will have heritage apples like Macoun and Yellow Newton, and some new arrivals like Ambrosia and Gale Gala. We even have an apple variety that’s used for cider, Yarlington Mill, which arose from a chance seedling discovered in 1898! The plum varieties are both European plums and are very cold hardy.

It should be noted that all apples need another apple (or fruit-bearing crabapple) of a different variety to cross-pollinate. Both types of plums that we carry are semi self-fruitful, but they will bear a heavier crop with a different plum cultivar nearby to cross-pollinate. The two plum varieties we will be carrying will cross-pollinate with each other very nicely. For fruit trees to cross-pollinate, they should be planted within 100 feet of each other.

Cost and Availability

Each bare root tree will be $39.99 and will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

The trees will be arriving in early March, weather permitting. We will continue to sell the bare root trees until they start to break bud, most likely in early April. 

If you would like to be notified when the bare root trees become available, please email us at info@ricksgarden.com or call the store at (719) 632-8491 to be put on our notification list.

Timing and Handling

Timing is important when purchasing and planting bare root fruit trees. Bare root trees can only be planted in the early spring. Bare root trees that are planted after they leaf out have a much lower survival rate.

Proper handling is crucial for bare root stock. Roots should never be allowed to dry out – even five minutes of sun exposure on a warm day can do life-threatening damage to the tree. When you purchase a bare root tree from Rick’s, you will be provided with a burlap sack and wet mulch (or other means) to protect the roots during transportation. 

The tree should be planted as soon as you get home from the nursery. If you will not be able to plant the tree immediately, please talk to our nursery staff so they can advise you on proper storage procedures.

Planting

Planting bare root trees is very similar to planting trees that have been grown in containers. The most important thing is to not plant too deep; you should have a structural root within the first one to two inches of soil. Amend soil to a maximum ratio of one part compost to four parts native soil. Cover the planting area with three inches of mulch, taking care to not contact the trunk. Staking may be necessary depending on root spread, soil type, and wind exposure.

Protection

Young trees that are small in diameter are the perfect size for deer to rub their antlers on. If deer graze in your neighborhood, cage trees immediately after planting. Trees left unprotected for even one night can be terminally damaged by deer.

For additional tree planting resources, please visit:

Tree & Shrub Planting Guide by Rick’s Garden Center:

The Science of Planting Trees by CSU Extension: https://cmg.extension.colostate.edu/Gardennotes/633.pdf 

Winter Watering on the Front Range

Our often dry, windy winters here on the Front Range can be especially tough on landscaping plants such as perennials, trees, shrubs, and lawns. Most plants need moisture throughout the winter to prevent root damage, so developing a winter watering schedule can help to protect your landscaping.

If roots are damaged over the winter, the “winter kill” is not obvious until summer. A plant or lawn may green up nicely in the spring, but in the first hot days of summer, a plant with damaged roots will struggle to take up enough water. This affects the health of the entire plant and can result in the browning of foliage (especially in evergreens and lawns). A weakened plant is more susceptible to pest and disease damage, and in severe cases, the entire plant may die from winter kill. Because our winters often lack consistent precipitation, many plants will benefit from supplemental winter watering.

What plants benefit from winter watering?

Nearly all plants will benefit from winter watering. However, the following plants are especially sensitive to drought injury throughout the winter.

  • Recent Transplants
    • Plants that are less established have smaller root systems and need more supplemental water to thrive.
    • According to Colorado State University Extension, trees take one year to establish for each inch of trunk diameter at planting.
    • Bare root plants take longer to establish than container plants.
    • Plants transplanted later in the season take longer to establish.
  • Evergreens
    • Because evergreens retain their needles, they still transpire throughout the winter. Without adequate soil moisture to replace this water loss, evergreens are at a higher risk for winter burn.
    • Evergreens at highest risk include arborvitae, boxwood, fir, Manhattan euonymus, non-native pines, Oregon grape-holly, spruce, and yew.
    • To help limit desiccation, some evergreens can be treated with a product such as Wilt Pruf® or Bonide Wilt-Stop®. Read the product label for uses and instructions.
  • Deciduous Trees and Shrubs with shallow root systems
    • Woody plants with shallow root systems are more likely to dry out because they cannot pull water from deep in the ground.
    • These include alders, European white and paper birches, dogwoods, hornbeams, lindens, mountain ashes, willows and several varieties of maple including Norway, silver, red, Rocky Mountain, and hybrid maples.
  • Herbaceous Perennials and Ground Covers
    • Even established perennials and ground covers can suffer from winter kill, especially those without wind protection and those with south or west exposures that experience more freezing and thawing.
  • Lawns
    • Newly established lawns are especially at risk for winter kill as well as those with south or west exposures.
When should I winter water?

Most plants will benefit from winter watering from October through March.

According to Colorado State University Extension, water one to two times per month during dry periods without snow cover. Windy or sunny sites (those with south or west exposures) dry out quicker and will require more water.

Only water when air temperatures are above 40°F and the soil is not frozen or covered in snow.

Water mid-day or earlier to ensure the water has time to fully soak in before freezing at night. Test soil moisture before watering by inserting a probe or screwdriver into the soil. If the screwdriver goes in easily, watering is not necessary. However, if it is difficult to push the screwdriver in after a few inches, watering is necessary.

What is the best way to apply water during winter?

While water can be applied by hand, typically it is most efficient to water with a soaker hose, drip hose or sprinkler that attaches to a hose. (Do not use an in-ground sprinkler system as these should stay winterized until spring.)

Trees can also be watered using a deep-root fork or needle that is inserted no deeper than eight inches into the soil in multiple locations throughout the dripline and outside of it. As with watering in the summer, it is important to allow water to slowly soak into the soil. This results in deeper penetration and prevents runoff. For trees, water should penetrate to a depth of 12 inches.

How much water do my plants need?

Mulch is crucial to helping soil retain moisture. The following recommendations assume that all plants have at least two inches of mulch. Keep in mind that most sprinklers deliver approximately 2 gallons of water per minute.

Trees

  • Apply at least 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree
  • Water once a month (twice a month for newly planted trees)
  • Water from the edge of the branches halfway to the trunk, and then two to three times that distance from the edge of the branches outward

Shrubs

  • Newly Planted: Apply at least 5 gallons of water twice a month
  • Small, established (less than 3 feet tall): Apply at least 3 gallons of water once a month
  • Large, established (more than 6 feet tall): Apply at least 10 gallons of water once a month
  • Water within the dripline and around the base

Herbaceous Perennials

  • Water requirements vary based on level of establishment and size of the plant
  • As a general guideline, apply half the amount of water that would be applied in a typical summer watering session once a month

Lawns

  • Water lawns if there has been no precipitation for three weeks and the lawn has a south or west exposure
  • Apply half the amount of water that would be applied in a typical summer watering session
Resources

https://water.unl.edu/article/lawns-gardens-landscapes/winter-watering

Houseplant Pest Guide

Stop the Problem Before it Starts

Always check a plant over for pests before you purchase.

Look at the plant’s overall health, checking for correct leaf texture and consistent coloring. There will almost always be small imperfections from shipping or normal wear and tear, but there should not be dark spotting or discoloration across the entire plant.

Look very closely at the leaves, particularly underneath near the area where the stem meets the leaf. If you see any small white or brown/black dots, show it to a nursery employee. They will be able to confirm if the dots are actually pests or simply dust/dirt.

Dig your finger through the dirt at the base of the plant. Look for anything moving around or flying out of the pot. Any pests that you find in the dirt will generally be much easier to get rid of, so if you see something, just be aware that you will need to treat the plant when you get home.

Always quarantine your plants when you get home. Even if you checked them over at the nursery, there is a chance that some pests snuck under the radar. The safest practice is to keep your new plants in a separate room from any other plants for about a week. Recheck your new plants every day and treat as necessary. All pests spread easily between plants, so you are protecting yourself (and your plants) from a larger problem if you quarantine any new purchases.

Identifying the Culprit

Identifying pests in your houseplants can sometimes be difficult. Many of them are so tiny you cannot see them with your bare eyes, others are more obvious. The following descriptions can help you identify which pests are “bugging” your houseplants.

Fungus Gnats

Effect on the Plant

Fungus gnats do not often cause enough damage to a plant to be noticeable. However, the larvae does feed on the roots of plants, so if an infestation is bad enough, they can kill your plants.

Appearance

Adult fungus gnats look a lot like the common fruit fly, but with a longer abdomen that comes to a point at the back. They range from light brown to black in color.

Fungus gnat larvae range from yellow to white with dark brown tips on one end.

Fungus gnat eggs are small, round, semi-opaque and white in color. They are usually found stuck together in a bunch.

Solutions

Fungus gnats are attracted to consistently damp soil – so the first solution is to let your soil dry out as much as possible before watering again. This will make your soil less tempting for them to lay their eggs in.

You can also set out yellow sticky traps to catch and kill the adults. This will help with keeping the population down.

If you have a worse infestation, the most aggressive way to get rid of fungus gnats is with Mosquito Bits. Mix 5-6 tablespoons of Mosquito Bits with a gallon of water and let them sit for at least 24 hours. Then use this tea to water your plants. It will make the soil inhabitable for the adults and will kill any larvae or eggs that are already present in the soil. You may also layer the Mosquito Bits over the soil (ensuring to cover the entire surface) and then water as usual; however, this method can cause white mold to grow on the surface of your soil. The mold is harmless to you and your plants, but it can be unsightly. You will want to treat with Mosquito Bits for at least 4 weeks (depending on the frequency of watering) to break the life cycle.

Always follow the directions for your safety and the safety of your family, pets and plants.

Usually a combination of all three methods is the best way to completely get rid of fungus gnats. Once you have eradicated the original infestation, you can continue to water with Mosquito Bit tea once every other month to stop them from reappearing.

Spider Mites

Effect on the Plant

Spider mites also feed on the liquid stored inside plant leaves, so they leave behind very small white or yellow circles from their feeding on the leaves. The damage left by spider mites is often not noticeable until it is extensive – the on the plant will look speckled with a lighter coloration, and will often be limp. Spider mites also leave behind a small web made of very fine strands. hat can be seen between the leaves and stems of your plant.

Appearance

Adult spider mites are often too small to see with the naked eye. They look like tiny flecks of dirt and range in color from brown and red to white. They will move around if you watch for long enough. They usually gather on the underside of the leaves, nearer to the stem.

Solutions

Spider mites are attracted to dry and arid areas, so they are fairly common in Colorado houseplants. To stop an infestation from starting, you can spray or wipe your plants with diluted neem oil once every few weeks. Only spray in the early morning or in the evening to avoid burning your leaves. Check the leaves (especially the undersides) and stems regularly so you can catch them early if they decide to move in.

To treat an already started infestation, you want to:

First, quarantine any plants that show signs of spider mites.

Next, spray your plants’ leaves with water using a sink, hose, or shower to remove most of the spider mites and their webs. During this process, be careful to not drench the soil – keep the stream aimed at only the foliage to avoid drowning your plant. If your plant has delicate foliage that will not stand up to being sprayed, you can gently dip the plant in water (only the leaves and stems, not the pot) and gently swirl to remove the spider mites.

Then, either spray or gently wipe diluted neem oil on to all of the leaves and stems of the plant. Apply the neem oil either early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid burning the leaves in any intense daytime light. Continue this treatment every 4 days, until all signs of spider mites have been gone for at least 3 weeks.

If the infestation persists, you can switch to a spinosad treatment. You can find these products at your local garden store. It is recommended that you use these products outside only unless the bottle is specifically marked for indoor use.

Always follow the directions for your safety and the safety of your family, pets and plants.

Once the infestation is gone (you have seen no signs of spider mites for at least 3 weeks), you can cut off any leaves that show spider mite damage so your plant has more energy for new, healthy growth.

Mealybugs

Effect on the Plant

Mealybugs also feed on the sugary sap within the leaves – they typically leave behind dark round circles on the leaves. Once the damage is extensive enough, the leaf will wilt and fall off. Mealybugs also leave behind a very fine white webbing that is often woven in tight spheres, making them look like small, plush, white balls.

Appearance

Adult mealybugs most often look like small white circles to the naked eye, however they can get large enough to see the definition in their many legs without a microscope. The larvae are very small and usually opaque yellow, and they are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

Solutions

Mealy bugs are attracted to soft plant matter, so they are usually found on plants that have been overwatered (causing the leaves to go soft). They are also attracted to high nitrogen levels, so over fertilizing your plants can attract them as well. Be sure to only water when your plant needs it, and have a well draining potting mix. Treating your plants and soil with diluted neem oil will also keep mealybugs away.

To treat an already started infestation, you want to:

First, inspect all of your plants carefully and quarantine any that show signs of mealybugs.

Next, you should remove all of the mealybugs you can see by using a Q-tip dipped in 3% rubbing alcohol. Throw away the removed mealybugs somewhere outside of your house.

Then, treat all affected plants with diluted neem oil every 4-7 days (depending on the severity of the infestation) for around 6 weeks.

Once the infestation is gone, remove all leaves that show signs of mealybug damage.

Always follow the directions for your safety and the safety of your family, pets and plants.

Scale Insects

Effect on the Plant

Scale insects feed on the sap found in the leaves and stems of houseplants, so they will leave small yellow or brown spots behind. They also excrete a sticky sap, that attracts ants.

Appearance

Adult scale looks very similar to the damage it leaves behind. They are small, circular and flat. It is common to confuse a scale bug with a the normal damage you would see on a healthy leaf or stem. You can try scraping the brown area off with your fingernail, and if it comes off easily and does not leave behind an open wound on the plant, it is likely scale. The adults are usually between 1/8″ to 1/4″ in size.

Solutions

Scale insects are very easy to mistake as a part of the plant, so it is important to inspect your houseplants often. Look for the sticky sap they leave behind or any increase in ants present around your plants.

To treat an already started infestation, you want to:

First, inspect all of your plants carefully and quarantine any that show signs of scale.

Next, you should remove all of the scale you can see by using your fingernail or a pair of tweezers. Try not to damage the surface of the plant too much during the removal process. Throw away the removed scale somewhere outside of your house.

Next, treat all affected plants with diluted neem oil every 4-7 days (depending on the severity of the infestation) for around 6 weeks.

Once the infestation is gone, remove all leaves that show signs of scale damage.

Always follow the directions for your safety and the safety of your family, pets and plants.

Aphids

Effect on the Plant

Aphids suck the sap of your plants and leave behind a sticky substance called honeydew. Sometimes the first sign of an infestation is an uptick in ants present on your plants because they are attracted to the honeydew. Aphids will often leave small holes behind in the leaves they have fed on.

Appearance

Adult aphids are some of the easiest pests to spot – but they are still quite small. Adults vary in color from dark brown and red to white or bright green. They can be seen without a microscope.

Aphid eggs are tiny, oblong and usually a light green or white color. They can be seen stuck on the underside of leaves, but are sometimes housed in a light gray casing that resembles dust or dirt.

Solutions

Aphids can come into the house through open windows or in contaminated soil and plants. To keep aphids from reaching your houseplants, be sure to thoroughly inspect any new houseplants or potting soil for signs of insect activity.

To treat an already started infestation, you want to:

First, inspect all of your plants carefully and quarantine any that show signs of aphids.

Next, spray your plants’ leaves with water using a sink, hose or shower to remove most of the aphids. During this process, be careful to not drench the soil. Keep the stream aimed at only the foliage to avoid drowning your plant. If your plant has delicate foliage that will not stand up to being sprayed, you can gently dip the plant in water (only the leaves and stems, not the pot) and gently swirl to remove the aphids.

Then prune all of the affected foliage.

From here, there are a few effective options to stop the aphids from coming back.

Predatory insects – you can release ladybugs or green lacewings to control aphid populations. This is usually a more popular choice for those growing in outdoor greenhouses, but some do not mind having ladybugs in their house. Keep in mind, these predatory insects will die off once the aphids are gone.

You can also kill aphids with neem oil. Spray or wipe your plants thoroughly (tops and bottoms of the leaves and stems) with diluted neem oil every 4-7 days, depending on the severity of the infestation. You should treat until the aphids have been gone for about a month.

Always follow the directions for your safety and the safety of your family, pets and plants.

Understanding Garden Fertilizers

The Basics

What is Fertilizer?
Fertilizer is best described as plant food. It provides a plant with all the necessary micro and macro-nutrients it needs to grow. Like us, a plant without food will be able to survive for a while, but it will eventually require sustenance to thrive. It should be noted that compost and soil are different from fertilizers and your plants will not get enough nutrients from soil and compost alone.

Do I even need fertilizer?
The answer – if you live and grow in Colorado – is a resounding “Yes!” The soil in Colorado is naturally very nutrient-poor, and these nutrients are essential for healthy, vibrant gardens. Even if you are planting in a raised bed or container garden, fertilizer is necessary for successful gardening.

When should I fertilize?
Fertilizing should be done on a consistent basis while a plant is out of dormancy (whenever it is actively growing). Depending on the type of fertilizer you choose, you can feed your plants anywhere between every watering or two to three times throughout the growing season. It is very important to read and follow the directions and dosages on your fertilizer carefully.

Understanding Your Options

What are the numbers?
Every fertilizer is required to display three numbers. These numbers are called the NPK – (N) for nitrogen, (P) for phosphorus, and (K) for potassium. These numbers represent the guaranteed amount of each macronutrient present in the fertilizer. For example, a fertilizer labelled “4-6-2” has 4% nitrogen, 6% phosphorus, and 2% potassium.

What do these nutrients do?
Luckily, there is an easy way to remember the purpose each of these macronutrients serve: Up – Down – All-around.
Up – Nitrogen will encourage lush, leafy growth above ground
Down – Phosphorus helps with strong root establishment and blooms
All-Around – Potassium supports the plant’s overall health and resistance to pests and disease.

Organic or synthetic?
There are pros and cons to both organic and synthetic products. Understanding them can help you decide what is best for your garden and gardening habits. Both organic and synthetic fertilizers will provide your plants with the same types of nutrients, and will not make a difference in the chemical make-up of the finished product.

Making the Decision

What is the right choice for my garden?
First, you must ask yourself what you want out of your garden – are you hoping for vibrant colors and large blooms from your annuals and perennials? Lush, dark green coverage from your foliage? Enough home-grown veggies to fill the fridge and give out to the neighbors? Once you decide your goal, picking a fertilizer is easy.

For foliage and leafy veggies, choose a fertilizer with a high nitrogen number (the first number of your NPK). Nitrogen encourages a plant to produce a lot of leaves. This will help give your annual and perennial beds a full, healthy look and will allow your lettuce, kale, and herbs to produce the most leaves possible.

For flowers, flowering vegetables, and root vegetables, you should ensure a high amount of phosphorus (the second number in your NPK). This will help the plant establish a healthy, extensive root system and will encourage the biggest, brightest, and most blooms possible.

*For tomatoes, you want a high phosphorus number to encourage bloom count, but you also want to ensure your tomatoes get enough calcium. Providing your tomatoes with extra calcium during planting and throughout the growing season will protect them from blossom-end rot (a disorder caused by a calcium deficiency in the plant).

*Please note, adding eggshells to your soil will not aid in avoiding blossom-end rot as the calcium in eggshells takes upwards of six years to break down and become “digestible” to the plant. Many fertilizers labelled specifically for tomatoes will have added calcium that is immediately available to your plants.

Fall Perennial Planting

Planting in the fall can save you a lot of money while also giving plants a jump start next spring! Plants that establish strong roots during the fall will come back bigger and stronger in the spring time.

However, fall planting requires careful consideration and attention to detail from the gardener. The trick is to give fall plantings a little extra care to help them get established before the really cold weather sets in.

Here are four things you can do to help your plants get established:

Soil Inoculant

At the time of planting, be sure to use an inoculant specifically formulated for perennials, trees and shrubs. These products will help the plant to start establishing roots before all of the foliage dies back. We recommend using an inoculant over a root stimulator this late in the season so you can avoid giving any extra nitrogen to the plant before it goes in to dormancy.

Mulch

Mulch helps to retain soil moisture while also protecting roots from sudden changes in temperature. We recommend using 3″ of a good quality mulch to keep plants protected. Make sure that mulch does not contact the bark of woody perennials.

Protect Plants from Early Freezes

Keep an eye on the weather and cover the plants when the temperatures dip below freezing throughout September and October. This is most important for perennials. Trees do not need to be blanketed, but bark wrap should be used on all young trees to protect the trunks from splitting during our freezing and thawing cycles. When covering perennials, use heavy fabric or plastic and prop it up so that it is close to, but does not touch the plant (Plastic that touches the plant during a freeze can actually do more damage.) Be sure the covering goes all the way to the ground and cover the edges with soil or mulch so that it will trap heat from the soil.

Water

To support adequate root growth, plants will need to be watered regularly in the fall. Keep your soil evenly moist, but not soggy, through the fall time. Remember to monitor your plants regularly! A plant that crisps up due to lack of water in the fall time is not likely to survive the winter. When the plant goes dormant, they will require less frequent watering, but will also need to be watered throughout the winter. Remember that desiccation is the result of cold weather plus dry soil. For more details on winter watering, visit our Blog.

Fern Care Guide

Light

Most fern varieties naturally grow on the floor of thick, forested areas so they prefer a bright but indirect light. Given the delicate nature of their leaves, they can easily burn if put in direct sunlight.

Temperature

Ferns should be kept in a temperate environment – they prefer daytime temps between 65-75 degrees, and can have nighttime temps no more than 10 degrees lower (55-65). If the temperature is often above 75 degrees, they will be okay but may require more frequent watering. If temperatures fall below 50 degrees, they risk being cold-shocked which is rarely survivable.

Humidity

This is the trickiest aspect of keeping a fern in Colorado. They require a humid environment in order to keep their foliage from crisping up and falling off. A fern should be kept in humidity levels that are consistently above 60%. There are a few ways to accomplish this:

  • Keep your fern in a closed terrarium – This is the easiest way to ensure your fern has optimal temperature and humidity levels.
  • Give your fern a humidity tray to sit on – By filling a saucer with washed gravel and a very small amount of water and then setting your potted fern on top, you can create a temporarily humid environment immediately around your fern. When using this method, ensure that the soil is not touching the water through your pot’s drainage hole. The water will have to be refilled about every other day.
  • Give your fern a humidifier – A humidifier is a great choice for people who have many plants that prefer a more humid environment than Colorado has to offer. There is a great variety to choose from – small, single-plant serving models, to ones that can raise the humidity of a large room.

Watering

Ferns prefer to stay in moist soil. It is important to maintain a good medium between letting the soil dry out and keeping it wet. The best way to tell if your fern needs to be watered is by sticking your finger into the top layer – if the top 1 1/2 inches are dry, then you should water. As with most houseplants, it is much safer to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering.

Fertilizer

Ferns are very light feeders, so they do not need to be fertilized often. For the best results, feed your fern a balanced houseplant fertilizer once every month starting mid-spring through the summer. It is best to not feed your fern during the fall and winter, as they are most sensitive to over-feeding at this time.

Rick’s Deer Resistant Plant List

Image of a deer in a garden

A Note About Deer Resistant Plants

The plants listed here are not guaranteed to be deer resistant. This is merely a guide of what deer generally do not eat. If they are hungry enough, they will eat just about anything, and it can vary from one side of town to the other.

Anything marked with a * indicates plants are browsed occasionally, but typically not destroyed.

The best protection against deer damage is an eight-foot-high fence.

Perennials

Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa)

Baby’s Breath (Gypsophilia paniculata)

Basket of Gold (Alyssum saxatile)*

Bee Balm (Monarda)

Bergenia (Bergenia)

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

Blue Star (Amsonia)

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)

Cacti (Cacti: var genera & ssp.)

Catmint (Nepeta)

Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata)

Coreopsis (Coreopsis)*

Cranesbill, Wild Geranium (Geranium ssp.)*

Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata)

Daffodils (Narcissus ssp.)*

Delphinium (Delphinium ssp.)*

Dotted Gayfeather (Liatris punctata)

Dwarf Leadplant (Amorpha)

Globe Thistle (Echinops ssp.)

Euphorbia (Euphorbia ssp.)

False Forget-Me-Not (Brunnera macrophylla)

Flax (Linum ssp.)*

Forget-Me-Not (Mertensia ssp.)

Foxglove (Digitalis)

Golden Banner (Thermopsis ssp.)

Goldenrod (Solidago ssp.)

Hummingbird Plant (Zauschneria)

Hyssop (Agastache)

Iris (Iris ssp.)*

Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-fernina)

Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla)

Lamb’s Ear (Stachys)

Larkspur (Consolida)

Lavender (Lavandula ssp.)

Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

Lenten Rose (Helleborus ssp.)

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lupine (Lupinus)*

Mexican Hat Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera)

Monkshood (Aconitum)

Penstemon (Penstemon ssp.)*

Peony (Paeonia ssp.)

Poker Plant (Kniphofia ssp.)

Poppy, esp. Oriental (Papaver)*

Prairie Zinnia (Zinnia grandiflora)

Prickly Pear (Opuntia ssp.)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)

Rose Champion (Lychnis)

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)*

Santolina (Santolia ssp.)

Sedum (Sedum ssp.)

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum ssp.)*

Silver Nettle (Lamium)

Sneezeweed (Helenium)

Snowdrops (Galanthus ssp.)

Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium tomentosum)

Snow-on-the-Mountain (Euphorbia marginata)

Soapwort (Saponaria ssp.)

Speedwell (Creeping veronica)

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum)

Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)*

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

Wormwood (Artemisia)

Yarrows (Achillea ssp.)

Yucca (flowers eaten) (Yucca ssp.)

Bushes & Shrubs

Buffaloberry, Silver (Sheperdia argentea)

Burning Bush (Euonymus)*

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)*

Cliff Rose (Cowania neo-mexicana)

Coralberry, Hancock (Symphoricarpos x ‘Hancock’)

Currant, Alpine (Ribes aplinum)

Currant, Golden (Ribes aureum)*

Daphne

Dogwood, Redtwig (Cornus stolonifera)*

Euonymus, Winged (Euonymus alatus)

Fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium)

Grapeholly, Oregon (Mahonia aquifolium)

Lilacs (Syringa ssp.)*

Mahonia, Creeping (Mahonia repens)

Mountain Mahagony, Curl-leaf (Cercocarpus ledifolius)

Ninebark, El Diablo (Physocarpus monogynus)*

Oak, Gambel’s (Quercus gambelii)

Plum, Wild (Prunus americana)

Potentilla (Potentilla ssp.)

Pyracantha (Pyracantha ssp.)

Quince (Chaenomeles ssp.)

Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus ssp.)

Raspberry, Boulder (Rubus deliciosus)

Rose, Austrian Copper (Rosa foetida ‘bicolor’)

Rose, Persian Yellow (Rosa foetida ‘persiana’)

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)*

Sage, Big Western (Artemisia tridentata)*

Saltbush, Four-wing (Atriplex canescens)

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)

Spirea, Anthony Waterer (Spirea ‘anthony waterer’)

Spirea, Bluemist (Caryopteris incana)

Spirea, Rock (Holodiscus dumosus)

Spirea, VanHoutte (Spiraea x vanhouttei)

Sumac, Fragrant (Rhus trilobata)*

Vines & Groundcover

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

Clematis, Golden Tiara (Clematis tangutica)

Clematis, Sweet Autumn (Clematis paniculata)

Clematis, Western White (Clematis ligusticifolia)

English Ivy (Hedera Helix)

Honeysuckle, Tatarian (Lonicera tatarica)

Iceplant (Delosperma)*

Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Pussytoes (Antennaria speciosa)

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Annuals

Ageratum

Angelonia

Begonias*

Cleome

Cosmos (Cosmos)

Lantana

Marigold (Tagetes)

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum)

Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus)

Portulaca

Salvia

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)

Tobacco Flower (Nicotiana)

Torenia

Verbena

Grasses

Blue Fescue (Festuca)

Feather Reed (Calamagrostis)

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum)

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium)

Maiden Grass (Miscanthus)

Quaking Grass (Briza)

Sedge (Carex)

Switch Grass (Panicum)

Bulbs – Fall Planting

Allium (Alluim)

Fritillaria (Fritillaria)

Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus)

Daffodil (Narcissus)

Bulbs – Spring Planting

Calla Lily (Zantedschia aethiopica)

Canna Lily (Canna)

Dahlia (Dahlia)

Dwarf Iris (Iris reticulata)

Gladiolus (Gladiolus)

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits

Allium – Chives, Onions, Leeks, Garlic

Basil

Blueberry

Chamomile

Coriander (Cilantro)

Dill

Elderberry

Fennel

Feverfew

Germander

Globe Artichoke

Lemon Balm

Marjoram

Mints

Oregano

Parsley

Potatoes

Rhubarb

Rosemary

Salvia (cooking sage)

Savory

Squash Thyme

Trees

Cherry, Nanking (Prunus tomentosum)

Fir, Concolor (Abies concolor)

Fir, Douglas (Pseudotsuga taxifolia)

Hackberry, Common (Celtis occidentalis)

Hawthorn (Crateagus spp)

Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos var.)

Juniper, Common (Juniperus communis)

Maple, Rocky Mountain (Acer glabrum)

Pine, Lodgepole (Pinus contorta)

Pine, Pinon (Pinus edulis)

Russian Olive (seeds eaten) (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

Spruce, Colorado (Picea pungens)

Tree and Shrub Planting Guide

Image of trees at Rick's Garden Center

Tree & Shrub Planting Guide

Call before you dig! Dial 811

1. Measure the depth of the root ball. Your planting hole should be approximately one inch less in depth than the root ball itself (Example: 14” root ball should be planted in a 13” deep hole). Lay your rake or shovel handle across the hole, the root ball should be just slightly higher than the handle. The tree should sit on undisturbed, firm, soil. You need a firm foundation so the tree doesn’t settle after it is planted.

2. Dig a large saucer shaped hole approximately 3 times the diameter of the root ball (Example: the root ball is 16” across, the diameter of the hole should be 48”). The saucer shaped sides of the planting hole help the new root growth to move outward and upward, away from the trunk or crown. This helps prevent the new roots from girdling the trunk and maintains proper oxygen and nutrient flow to the root system.

3. Gently remove container, for large trees or shrubs, it may be easier to cut the container off. DO NOT pick up the tree or shrub by its trunk and attempt to “shake” off the container.

4. Check the root ball for roots that are growing in a circular pattern. If the roots are “Pot Bound” it is recommended to shave off an inch to an inch and a half of the exterior of the root ball. Use a hand saw to slice off strips from the exterior of the root ball around the perimeter. Prune any remaining circling roots. This has been found to be more effective than vertical slices through the root ball and prevents root girdling of the tree. Do this in several sections around the root ball. This will stimulate the roots to begin growing out of their circulating pattern.

5. Dust the root ball and cut root ends with a mycorrhizae inoculant, such as Mykes, Soil Moist or other product, so that there is good contact with the root system per the product directions. If possible, dampen the root ball to help adhere the dust to the root ball.

6. Place the tree in the hole and backfill with the original soil, remove any large dirt clumps or rocks. Water in the soil to settle it down, do not tamp down. Continue backfilling up to the top of the root ball. If you have any excess soil, use it to build a raised berm around the outside of the hole. This will aid in proper watering. NOTE: If you have heavy clay soil, consult our Nursery Manager. It is NOT recommended to try and adapt trees to soil they cannot tolerate.

7. Mix the Ferti-lome Root Stimulator or Bonide Root & Grow according to the directions on the label. Water the tree or shrub thoroughly with the mixture throughout the first two growing seasons.

8. Add mulch to the planting area, keeping the mulch 4-6 inches from the trunk of the tree or crown of the shrub. This will help retain moisture, moderate the soil temperature and prevent mower/trimmer damage, ensuring a good consistent growing area for your new plant. It looks great too!

9. Large, tall trees will require staking and guying. This will prevent any wind damage that could topple or shift your tree causing severe root damage. Tree straps should be loose to allow the tree to move a little in the wind. Remove tree straps after one year.

Image showing how to plant a tree

RECOMMENDED:
TREE WRAP We highly recommend using tree wrap on any smooth barked /and/ or dark colored tree trunks. Winter sun can cause frost cracking in young trees, especially trees with southwest exposures. Wrapping should be applied around Thanksgiving and removed by April Fools Day or Easter.

TRUNK BARK PROTECTORS The only trees that may not need Deer Guards are those planted behind a 6’ fence that the deer can’t see through; or have thick rough bark! It is never worth risking the damage that deer WILL do! This can also protect against mechanical damage from mowers.

WATERING:
Newly planted trees will need 5-10 gallons of water a week for the first two years until they are established. It is better to water more deeply and infrequently than lightly and frequently. If the soil is still wet a couple of inches down around the root ball, avoid watering.

Don’t forget to Winter Water!! Trees still lose moisture during the dormant period. If there has been no measurable precipitation for over a week and temperatures are above freezing, water lightly once a week, 2-3 gallons. This goes a long way to preventing winter dye-back and root damage!

Forcing Paperwhite Narcissus Bulbs

Paperwhites bulbs in a dishFlowering bulbs can be forced to bloom indoors, creating a beautiful display of color and fragrance even on the coldest days of winter. Some bulbs require a period of cold treatment to bloom, which can be a little tricky. If you’re new to forcing bulbs, we recommend starting with Paperwhite Narcissus. Paperwhite bulbs do not require a cold treatment and are super easy to bloom in water. Planting – A Simple Hydroponic Method
  1. Find a decorative bowl or dish that is 3 to 4 inches deep and holds water
  2. Fill the dish with about 2 to 3 inches of clean decorative rock, pebbles, pea gravel, perlite, or other very porous substrate leaving about 1 inch of head space at the top of the dish
  3. Add water until it is just slightly below the surface of the rock
  4. Set the bulbs on top of the rock with the basal plate (root end) facing down
  5. Use a little more gravel to cover the bottom quarter of the bulb
Maintaining
  1. Keep the water level just at the level of the basal plate (too much water will cause the bulb to rot)
  2. Bulbs typically do best if they are kept in a cooler location (50 to 60 degrees F) in low light for the first 2 to 3 weeks
  3. Once the bulbs are rooted and shoots appear, bring into direct sunlight and warmer temperatures
  4. When the flower buds begin to show their color, move the plants into indirect sunlight to prolong the flowers
Pro Tips
  1. Plant new pots every two weeks starting in mid-October to have blooms from Thanksgiving into March.
  2. Keep bulbs out of reach of pets and children as these plants are toxic if ingested.
  3. Forced paperwhites will not likely rebloom, so it is best to toss out spent bulbs.
References: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/forcing-bulbs-indoors/ https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/hort-home-landscape/2016-11-30-forcing-paperwhites-holiday-decor

Growing Garlic in the Pikes Peak Region

Garlic is a crop that is fun to grow and does best when planted in the fall. There are many interesting varieties, so take your time choosing a variety that suits your taste and cooking preferences. When to Plant Garlic Garlic grows best in the Pikes Peak Region when planted in the fall – typically in late October – when the soil temperatures are too cool to cause the garlic to sprout but still warm enough to allow the bulb to establish some roots before going dormant for the winter. Choosing a Garlic Variety to Plant There are two main subspecies of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck varieties are most similar to wild garlic and also produce a delicious flowering stalk, known as a scape, that can be eaten raw or cooked. Hardneck varieties tend to be more flavorful, have larger cloves, and are easier to peel. Hardneck varieties may be purple, purple striped or white. Each cultivar has a distinctive flavor ranging from mild to very hot. Softneck varieties do not produce a flowering stalk, but they can be braided. These varieties typically produce bulbs with 10 to 40 smaller cloves. Softnecks have a longer shelf life than the hardneck varieties, making them popular with grocery stores. Soil Preparation Garlic is best grown in a well-drained soil as it won’t tolerate wet feet. Garlic thrives in soil that is high in organic matter, so a raised bed is an ideal location for growing it. Be sure to amend the soil with well-rotted manure or preferably a quality compost. If possible, spread 1 to 2 inches of compost over the entire planting area and work it into the first few inches of soil. As with most garden crops, garlic grows best when the soil pH is between 6 and 7. If you amend the soil with manure or compost before planting, no further fertilizer is needed until spring. Garlic should not be planted in the same spot year to year; the crop should be rotated. How to Plant, Harvest & Store Garlic
  • Garlic cloves are best planted between November and April, although you will generally get a bigger and better crop if you plant in the autumn. If planted between October 1 and November 15, the clove will have a chance to develop some roots before it goes dormant for the winter. Here at Rick’s, we think the ideal time to plant is at the end of October.
  • Separate cloves from the bulb and plant root side down (pointed side up) about 2-4 inches deep, 6-8 inches apart in the row and 12-18 inches between rows. A bulb planter used for tulips and daffodils is an excellent tool to get several cloves planted quickly.
  • Mulching 6-12 inches of straw or mulch in mid to late November, when the ground begins to freeze, will ensure the garlic will survive the cold temperatures.
  • In early spring as the ground thaws, look for the green tips beginning to emerge underneath the you mulch.
  • Fertilize in spring with a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 (3 lb per 100 sq. feet), or an organic complete fertilizer at roughly twice the rate, as usually they contain roughly half the nitrogen as chemical fertilizers.
  • As half of the leaves begin to die-back in July, harvest the garlic by gently pulling on the stalk while prying beneath the bulb with a trowel. The clove you planted last fall will have turned into a multi-cloved bulb. Gently shake off the dirt but do not wash before storage. Don’t wait until all the leaves have died-back or your bulbs will not store well.
  • Cure the garlic by hanging in a warm, dry, well ventilated place.
  • Give the bulbs another shake after two weeks of curing to remove more soil, cut off the stalks of hardneck varieties and store them in a cool, dry place. For softneck varieties, you can leave the stalks attached if you wish to braid and hang them for ease of use and aesthetics in the kitchen – but you may also cut off the stalks and store them with the hardneck varieties.
  • Save some of your biggest bulbs for planting next fall.
Varieties Available at Rick’s for Fall 2021 Planting All of our seed garlic is locally grown in Avondale, CO and is certified organic. Metechi garlic is a hardneck with a robust flavor and sharp bite. One of the hottest garlics raw, cooking tones down heat while keeping tons of flavor. One of the best garlics for roasting.  Easy to peel, long-storing. Pueblo Early garlic is an artichoke variety softneck derived from California Early. Medium tame flavor, very large heads, good all-purpose garlic. Very adaptable. Stores until spring under cool, dry storage conditions. Inchelium Red garlic is a softneck artichoke variety, once the softneck variety winner for best flavor. Mild buttery flavor at harvest, flavor increases with storage to mild heat. Properly cured, may store up to 10 months.. Silverwhite garlic is a softneck variety, typically the last to mature each season and stores the longest. Richly garlic flavor. High yields of large, mild-flavored bulbs. Popular softneck in grocery stores and for braiding.

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